FOLLOWING weeks of doom, gloom and just a hint of controversy, Selkirk RFC at last have lots to celebrate this week.
On Saturday, the 1st XV played out of their skin to notch a crucial bonus-point away victory at Inverleith. And, on Tuesday, Scotland coach Andy Robinson revealed that our very own Lee Jones and former Selkirk centre Alex Dunbar have made his 34-man training squad ahead of the EMC Test against New Zealand at Murrayfield next month.
Old hat Jones will be gunning for his fifth cap for his country, while Dumfries-born Dunbar will be hoping to achieve his first.
Both players will convene at St Andrews on Monday for a three-day camp before meeting up in Edinburgh on Monday, November 5, to begin detailed build-up to the New Zealand match.
Selkirk have their own test this weekend when they travel to play Borders rivals Kelso in an RBS National League encounter.
And, bouyed by last weekend’s gritty 32-23 win over Stewart’s Melville FP, the Souters are more than up for the challenge.
Coach Brian Cassidy, however, is erring on the side of caution and refused to look too far ahead.
He told The Wee Paper: “I said before the game that we needed to get through the next three fixtures (Stew-Mel, Kelso and Hawick) undefeated and then we could take a look and see if we can pinch one of those top two spots.
“We are only halfway into the season, but if they can show the same kind of spirit that they showed at Inverleith then I am quietly confident.”
Spirit was certainly a big factor in last week’s game and Selkirk had it in spades.
In a match where the lead changed hands five times, Cassidy’s men showed strength and character to dig deep at the end and hold out for a win.
Every member of the Philiphaugh side played his part in containing a strong, well-organised college outfit, who always looked dangerous on the counter-attack, and whose physicality up front put the Philiphaugh pack’s resilience to the test.
Rory Banks crossed the line twice for Selkirk, with Darren Clapperton and Callum Johnstone scoring the other tries.
Michael McVie slotted three conversions and two penalties.
“We showed the spirit, the hunger and the togetherness that Selkirk should show,” added Cassidy.
“Yes, there was some good rugby, but it was the Selkirkness in this team that won that game and I was proud as punch of them today.”
z The SRU championship committee has instructed Selkirk and Biggar to replay the abandoned RBS National League fixture on Saturday, January 12.